Pinburgh conundrum


It did actually benefit player 3.
I can’t remember the exact points, but as player 4 didn’t have to play, potentially effecting the points awarded to player 1 it protected his 3rd place position.

Both players benefitted


Cure is worse than the disease. There’s been what, one guy who admitted to sandbagging? That kind of change basically makes it an “non-A division players need not apply” tournament.


Care to elaborate? Why would non A players not want to play? I’m a non A player and I want to play in it.

You could even split off everyone below X number of points after day one for people that aren’t restricted and had a really bad day. Day two is A/B/C division and D division.


Three days of qualifying rounds! Finals on the fourth!

/yeah, as if it’s not already a monumental task at the length it is now.


Free entry into next year’s Replay FX for the top 100 qualifiers in A… or something like that could help close the gap…


If I see a tournament that paid out reasonably to its B, C, and D divisions all of a sudden stop paying them out, it’s a strong message that they don’t want me as a player. (Or I’m the sucker, take your pick.)

Killing off players who don’t make the cut after day one is (MHO) an even worse idea. Now instead of a guaranteed two days of play you’ve gone down to one guaranteed day of play. I guess that’s fine if you live in Pittsburgh, but if I was somebody who flew in from europe or australia and got nuked after one day I’d think loooooooooooong and hard before returning! (I’d think long and hard about it, and I only drove in from Chicago!)


I think there’s room to argue that with the recent growth of competitive pinball, perhaps the current set of restrictions could be adjusted.

Is the data used to generate initial seeding available? I’m curious what the player distribution looks like across IFPA rankings. (edit: Nevermind; looks like there have been no new tournaments posted to IFPA since Pinburgh, so that data is easy enough to grab).

It might also be interesting to see what a set of quantile based restrictions look like – initially seed via IFPA rank (+ whatever you currently do for suppressed players), then restrict players above the 7th octile to A, above the 5th to B, and 3th to C or similar.


This does sound like a bad format. Good thing that isn’t at all what @mizary is suggesting :wink:

Guaranteed two days of play. Top 160-200 make A/B/C/D finals brackets to play for money. Every division gets money.


We must be looking at different posts. Here’s what I saw:

Personally I’d remove most if not all prize money from B-D. If you qualify for finals you get a medal or something. If you make final 4 you get a shirt/small trophy/plaque. If you win B/C/D - maybe you get some small amount of cash. Like $600 for B, $400 for C and $200 for D. I know personally I don’t care about prize money. I just want WPPRs and to play with the best players possible.

That sounds like absolutely nothing for anyone except the winner of B/C/D.


Only thing to change is groupings are Swiss. @korn


My idea was to not break into divisions after day 1. Do tiered swiss pairings both days. At the end of round 10 the top 20% (overall) make finals. If field is 1,000 it would be qualifiers 1-50 in A, 51-100 in B and so on. This however wouldn’t eliminate people from sandbagging in round 10. The money structure would also have to change. Every one who qualifies still gets at least $200 which is no change. But I would reduce the amounts higher amounts in B/C/D and push that money over into A. Especially for the low qualifiers in A. I don’t want to sand bag into B if the last spot in A finals automatically gets $500 min and I have to WIN B to get $1000.


This would be not very fun for below average players (average of the field). Many many many people would have nothing to play for on the second day. Pinburgh’s current setup is wonderful because everyone has something to play for on day two.


Ok, so I’m like 2/3 through this thread, but it seems to me that the best solution thrown out so far is actually to decrease the size of the A division.

I wonder if you threw together a distribution of players that make A finals compared to their qualifying position at the end of day 1, if it would show some interesting probabilities of someone who finishes day 1 seeded maybe 100+ in A division actually making the finals. If that were the case, why not cap A at the top 100 or 120?

I think this addresses the problem because there’s really only a certain chunk of folks who even have the incentive to sandbag and I think it’s primarily those that are on/near the A/B split. The thought process I hear over and over again is that if you’re coming into day 2 at the bottom of A, you feel it’s almost impossible to make finals so why not sandbag and give yourself a shot at one of the other divisions.

With this pretty easy reformulation, you remove the incentive to sandbag from those that currently have it and not much else changes. In fact, if you think down the line, the other consequences of this decision might make a lot of sense too.

A couple I can think of:

  • The spread between B, C, and D becomes more well defined.
  • It becomes a little tougher to qualify for finals in the lower divisions because there are more people, further disincentivizing sandbagging out of A.
  • You could even pay out some sort of small prize for anyone who qualifies for A. Maybe that free entry to Replay FX the following year like I mentioned earlier.
  • Making it into A division is a real accomplishment, not just “oh I tied with 50 other people to squeak into the bottom and now I don’t have a shot.”


Looking at Day 2 starting scores this year, there were about 20 people with less than 20 points. I would say they have a hell of a mountain to climb, but not out of the realm of possibility to make D finals. Or like I suggested earlier, have a day two A/B/C division and a separate D division/novice division with tighter restrictions than they are currently.

If you scored 19 day one then averaged 9 a round (not impossible), you’d be right there in the top 160 (for 800 players) with 64 points. That would get into D finals or be close.


Andrei Massenkoff, Andy Rosa, Steven Zahler, Lyman Sheats, Jason Scheffelmaer, Greg Galanter, Zac Wollons, and Gabe da Silveira all made A finals after starting the day as a 100+ seed.


What about the people at the bottom of A on day two?

The bottom qualifiers for A (not counting the restricted ones that were even lower) had 33pt. You needed 73 (72 for a tie) to get into A finals. That’s an average of 8pts per round on day two. How many of those people didn’t come back on Friday because they felt out of the running? Almost none. They were playing for fun and WPPRs like most of us.

This would also get rid of restrictions. Look at someone like Mirko Lunden from Sweden. He had a rough day on Thursday and ended up at the very bottom of A with only 24pts (he was restricted). He had no chance on Friday but he came back to play anyways. As did most of the people at the bottom of A.

As for below average players not getting paid… isn’t that how it’s supposed to work? The best players get paid. Reward skill or have sandbaggers.


Yeah… ok… I know there are some, but I’m much more interested in the full statistics. I just threw 100 out there as a guess. If you looked at a proper distribution over the last 3 years of Pinburghs, I wonder if a good cutoff might jump out of the data. Something like… only 5% of people who start day 2 above 120 make the playoffs. That would seem totally reasonable.

Also, I think at least some of those folks you mentioned are A restricted, so they wouldn’t really matter for this discussion because they end up in A no matter what.


Even in the top 250, the rankings are valid only in US and Canada, I believe. Australia’s top three players are ranked in the 100-200 range. If those same players were to compete in the US, they would probably be in the 50-100 range, simply because we do not have anywhere near the number and size of tournaments that are on offer in the US, so the points are simply not available, even if a player wins absolutely everything.


This exactly.

The vast majority of the highest ranked players play in the US. Simply because there are more high value tournaments to enter.


Yup… there are a lot of challenges in making the ifpa rankings better. I don’t think you want to make those problems pinburgh’s problems. The more important and precise you expect those to be… the more you expose yourself to its limits.